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VRCM Acquires Rare Historic 1954 Color TV

Historic 1954 TV, first to show Tournament of Roses Parade in color, acquired by Connecticut museum

Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut, 115 Pierson Lane, Windsor, CT  06095

A rare prototype television set , hand built in 1954 and used to introduce color television to the world has been acquired by the Vintage Radio & Communications Museum of CT.  This set is only one of 100 made and never sold to the public for the purpose of showing the Tournament of Roses Parade in color.

                On January 1, 1954 RCA revealed to the world the first Electronic Color TV System. The “Tournament of Roses”   was chosen as the subject to demonstrate the ability of the new system to faithfully reproduce the full spectrum of color. This was telecast by 21 NBC affiliates that were owned at the time by RCA.

                To do this, RCA hand-built 100 Color Televisions dubbed “Model  5”. These sets were distributed to major cities and markets in the US. They were set up in theatres, exclusive hotels, RCA Dealers and the like. After the demonstration, the sets were returned to RCA Laboratories for further research and were thought to have been destroyed.

                Over the years a handful has surfaced in the hands of former RCA/NBC employees who held on to them. Recently, an 86 year-old  retired RCA Engineer, whose father was also an engineer for RCA, donated his previously unknown to the world Model  5 to our Museum. It is his wish that younger and future generations can see this technological marvel that changed the world.

                We have chosen to unveil the “Model 5” unrestored, preserving the hand- build components that were installed for the event of Jan 1, 1954. This was planned to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the first telecast. It will be a permanent display starting the week of 12/30/2023.

For more information and a clip of the original telecast:

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